Video podcasting is more popular than ever, but a quick check of the online video sites makes it very obvious that some people need help to make their video watchable. Here are 3 easy tips to improve the quality of your video content without using fancy editing tricks or expensive camera gear.
- Tripod: Use a tripod. In many cases where there are people sitting and talking to the camera, that steady, stable image is best unless you have the camera actively moving around the room. A camera operator who is trying to hold themselves steady enough to mimic a tripod winds up distracting the viewer with movements they can't control–breathing, shifting around unconsciously, and dealing with tired arms.
- Lighting: The most noticeable problem with many video podcasts is simple lighting. The lights in your room might be enough to let everyone see the action, but chances are those lights aren't quite enough. Buy some inexpensive shop lights, and aim them up at the ceiling. You'll get light reflected off the ceiling that can add a lot to the video. Remember when you add lights, you are lighting to bring out natural skin tones and background colors in the picture, making them look better on camera.
- Zooming and Close-ups:
- Avoid using the zoom lens. Professional video crews only use the zoom to create specific effects. When you zoom in, the image becomes shaky even with image stabilizers and other picture correction tools. If you stay zoomed out, your image will look more stable and professional. Zooming is best saved for when you want to reveal something in the picture, or concentrate the viewer' s attention on a specific detail in the shot.
- When you must zoom try to obey the old adage, "Zoom with your feet." Simply walk closer to the place you want the camera to be and your close-up shots will look much more professional and stable. Getting closer to the object or situation also reduces compression of the image as a whole, meaning you will notice more space between objects on screen. Zooming in tends to flatten the picture out so that there appears to be little space between foreground and background.
- If you have to zoom in instead of walking closer to your subject, try to hold your breath for the duration of the shot. It makes the image steadier.
- Zooming out reveals objects in the shot, and is a good way to visually move a podcast along if you don't have a lot of action.
- Zooming in to an object or scene can help you transition from one scene to the next if you remember to use a wider shot after the zoom is over.